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Corsair Force LE 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Should be slower at this price 08/24/2016

This review is from: Corsair Force LE 2.5" 480GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F480GBLEB

Pros: This is an inexpensive SSD. Not quite as cheap as the Silicon Image S55 or Crucial BX100, but still slower than high-end SSDs. That said, most people want "affordable and still really good". Today's SSDs are *so much faster* than traditional hard drives that fretting over their differences is like worrying about which Ferrari use for your commute: The F12 Berlinetta may be the fastest, but they are all overkill.

Corsair Force LE features:
- Uses TLC flash (see below for what this means), like most cheap SSDs.
- Includes a fast SLC (see below) cache to improve performance. This doesn't help much for large file copies, but it is a huge help for day to day tasks like starting programs, saving documents, rebooting.
- The most important factor in an SSD's performance is the controller -- the processor that handles reading, writing and bookkeeping. This SSD uses a Phison PS3110-S10, which is a faster and higher-end controller than the PS3108-S8 used in the Kingston SM2280S3, the Silicon Power S55, and the MyDigitalSSD BP3.

BUYING TIP: There is rarely much difference between SSDs that use the same controller. Once you know this, you simply look for the cheapest SSD with that controller to get the best deal. In the case of Corsair specifically, they tend to use higher-quality parts and offer other value-add features such as custom high-performance firmware and configuration software. I have not often been impressed with their software, but it is far better than anything from the low-end manufacturers.


PERFORMANCE WITH SMALL TRANSFERS:
(Note that all my benchmarks use a queue depth of 1 because that is the most common for non-server systems)
This drive reads random small pieces of data (4KB) at 33.3MB/sec. This may sound slow, but it is faster than many inexpensive drives including the Crucial MX200, BX100, and the OCZ Vector 180, and it is about 45 times faster than an average hard drive, which often can't even handle a single megabyte per second.
Phison controllers are still not known for their speed with small file transfers, but this is among the best Phison TLS SSDs. Still, choose a different drive if small IOs are important to your workload (for example, software development).

It writes 4K random data about twice as fast as it reads (147MB/sec), which is about twice as fast as most TLC SSDs based on the Phison PS3108 controller (mentioned above).

PERFORMANCE WITH LARGE TRANSFERS:
Almost all SSDs today, even cheap ones, get around 500MB/sec for large transfers (546 in the case of this SSD). This is because the SATA port is the mitigating factor, not the SSD. Note that large transfer performance does not happen much in the real world other than when copying large files. Nothing to see here.

MIXED READ/WRITE PERFORMANCE:
Heavy daily computing tasks are mostly reads with occasional writes, for example, to save a configuration file or overwrite a document.
When most of the reads and writes are small (under 4K) and random (not isolated to a subset of files), the Force LE doesn't do very well compared to some competitors, averaging about 40MB/sec compared to almost 80MB/sec from the Crucial MX200 and 75 from the 850 EVO. This
When those transfers are larger, around 128KB, the performance changes drastically: The Force LE can manage 340MB/sec, which is faster than the Samsung EVO (255 MB/sec), OCZ Vector 180 (301MB/sec), and the Sandisk Extreme Pro (261MB/sec).

The Force LE seems to be marketed towards those looking for an upper-end affordable SSD. Its use of TLC memory makes it inexpensive but slower than MLC SSDs, but its higher-end Phison controller and SLC cache make it perform better than many, but not all, TLC SSDs. While this drive is more expensive than the Silicon Power S55s that I recently reviewed, it also blows them away in terms of performance.

Cons: Normally in a Corsair review I would mention how the Corsair name comes with a price tag and how you can get similar hardware for cheaper from companies that don't have such an established name if you are willing to let go of Corsair's SSD software, but I looked for similar SSDs (SSDs that use the same Phison controller and use TLC flash memory) but they are all the same or slightly more expensive except for the Toshiba, which has awful reviews. Corsair has priced this thing *really* aggressively.
Specifically, I looked at the OCZ Trion 150, the Toshiba Q300, and the PNY CS1311. Note that the prices may have changed since this review was a written, so it never hurts to look.

Other Thoughts: First: If you are building a PC, you should use an SSD and not a hard drive. Hard drives are useful only when you need to store terabytes of data cheaply (and slowly).

Many benchmarks show the read speed of hard drives vs SSDs only for large file transfers (over 256KB). SSDs outperform hard drives by several times, but this does not reveal how important an SSD is to the system.
SSDs can make your PC tens of times faster. How? Most real-world file access involves many reads/writes of very small amounts of data (under 8KB).
For these, the Corsair Force LE is *more than 110 times faster* than a modern hard drive (specifically the Seagate 8TB Barracude Pro).

TLC/SLC flash definition:
TLC stands for "three level cell. Each flash memory cell stores three voltages instead of one (SLC) or two (MLC). This makes the cell slower because it has to read and write three values, and makes it wear faster because as it ages, it becomes more difficult to distinguish so many voltage levels, but it *triples* the SSD's capacity vs. SLC (or increases it 50% vs MLC). This means the SSD is more affordable and still fast enough for most users. I wouldn't suggest most TLC SSDs for servers, but for home computers they are just fine.

Power users know that a high-end SSD like an Intel 750 is faster and will last longer, but this is an SSD for your friend's computer, your dad's computer, or your computer when you don't have unlimited cash.

My credentials: I helped edit articles for StorageReview.com for years and was their first moderator. I have a degree in computer science and work as a senior engineer for a multi-billion dollar semiconductor manufacturer. My company does not make any SSD-related products and I have no investment in any PC hardware manufacturer.

READ FULL REVIEW
Silicon Power Slim S55 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: This is an inexpensive SSD. Yes it is a bit slower than a high-end SSD, but most people want "affordable and still really good". Today's SSDs are *so much faster* than traditional hard drives that fretting over their differences is like worrying about which Ferrari use for your commute: The F12 Berlinetta may be the fastest, but they are all overkill.

Because this SSD is only 240GB, I suggest using it only for a system drive -- that's your "C:" drive in Windows, the drive that Windows is installed on. You may need second SSD or a larger one if you store a lot of photos, videos, music, or games. I have also reviewed the 480GB version of this unit and found it to be nearly identical (but twice the size).

Silicon Image S55's features:
- Uses TLC flash (see below for what this means), like most cheap SSDs.
- Includes a fast SLC (see below) cache to improve performance. This doesn't help much for large file copies, but it is a huge help for day to day tasks like starting programs, saving documents, rebooting.
- The most important factor in an SSD's performance is the controller -- the processor that handles reading, writing and bookkeeping. This SSD uses a Phison PS3108-S8.

BUYING TIP: There is rarely much difference between SSDs that use the same controller. Once you know this, you simply look for the cheapest SSD with that controller to get the best deal. Other models with this Phison controller include the Kingston SM2280S3, the Corsair Force LS, and the MyDigitalSSD BP3, all of which are more expensive as of this writing, making the Silicon Power S55 the best deal.


PERFORMANCE WITH SMALL TRANSFERS:
This drive reads random small pieces of data (4KB) at 33MB/sec. This may sound slow, but it is faster than most, including the more expensive Samsung 845 EVO (by about 5MB/sec), and it is about 44 times faster than an average hard drive, which often can't even handle a single megabyte per second.
It writes 4K random data about twice as fast as it reads (60MB/sec)
Note that compared to the 480GB model, this smaller SSD reads slightly faster and writes slightly slower. See my review of the 480GB model for details.

PERFORMANCE WITH LARGE TRANSFERS:
Almost all SSDs today get around 500MB/sec for large transfers. This is because the SATA port is the mitigating factor, not the SSD. The same goes for this SSD. Nothing to see here.

REAL WORLD PERFORMANCE:
It is difficult to *properly* benchmark real-world performance myself without special software, so I'll summarize results from the most technically competent hardware review website: Anandtech.com. Note they benchmark an SSD with the same controller and firmware, but it isn't the exact same SSD and the size is smaller, so these numbers are just a good ballpark figure. Google "anandtech MyDigitalSSD bp3" for details:

Light workload (most users): 242 MB/sec: 66% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 5x the performance of the slowest.
Heavy workload (Photoshop, gaming, installing, etc.): 166MB/sec: 60% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 4.4x the performance of the slowest.

Overall the Silicon Power S55's performance is average, not extremely far from the top performers and far above the low performers. This is good news since the drive is so affordable.

Cons: Silicon Power has been criticized for changing the controller on some models of their SSD (not this one). For example, the S60 SSD can have either a Sandforce or Phison controller. Having multiple suppliers helps ensure that no supplier can suddenly jack up the price, and it is not evil as long as the company doesn't promise a specific controller. Still, Silicon Image should have made it very clear that the performance of some of their drives can differ -- there aren't many bigger changes that you can make to an SSD design than changing the controller it uses!

Other Thoughts: First: If you are building a PC, you should use an SSD and not a hard drive. Hard drives are useful only when you need to store terabytes of data cheaply (and slowly).

Many benchmarks show the read speed of hard drives vs SSDs only for large file transfers (over 256KB). SSDs outperform hard drives by several times, but this does not reveal how important an SSD is to the system.
SSDs can make your PC tens of times faster. How? Most real-world file access involves many reads/writes of very small amounts of data (under 8KB).
For these, the Silicon Power S55 is *more than 100 times faster* than a modern hard drive (specifically the Seagate 8TB Barracude Pro).

TLC/SLC flash definition:
TLC stands for "three level cell. Each flash memory cell stores three voltages instead of one (SLC) or two (MLC). This makes the cell slower because it has to read and write three values, and makes it wear faster because as it ages, it becomes more difficult to distinguish so many voltage levels, but it *triples* the SSD's capacity vs. SLC (or increases it 50% vs MLC). This means the SSD is more affordable and still fast enough for most users. I wouldn't suggest most TLC SSDs for servers, but for home computers they are just fine.

Power users know that a high-end SSD like an Intel 750 is faster and will last longer, but this is an SSD for your friend's computer, your dad's computer, or your computer when you don't have unlimited cash.

My credentials: I helped edit articles for StorageReview.com for years and was their first moderator. I have a degree in computer science and work as a senior engineer for a multi-billion dollar semiconductor manufacturer. My company does not make any SSD-related products and I have no investment in any PC hardware manufacturer.
I use an Intel 730 480GB SSD in my personal desktop computer, which I built from parts ordered from Newegg, because they are the only big online seller that knows technology and makes it easy to research between PC parts.

READ FULL REVIEW
Silicon Power Slim S55 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: This is an inexpensive SSD. Yes it is a bit slower than a high-end SSD, but most people want "affordable and still really good". Today's SSDs are *so much faster* than traditional hard drives that fretting over their differences is like worrying about which Ferrari use for your commute: The F12 Berlinetta may be the fastest, but they are all overkill.

Silicon Image S55's features:
- Uses TLC flash (see below for what this means), like most cheap SSDs.
- Includes a fast SLC (see below) cache to improve performance. This doesn't help much for large file copies, but it is a huge help for day to day tasks like starting programs, saving documents, rebooting.
- The most important factor in an SSD's performance is the controller -- the processor that handles reading, writing and bookkeeping. This SSD uses a Phison PS3108-S8.

BUYING TIP: There is rarely much difference between SSDs that use the same controller. Once you know this, you simply look for the cheapest SSD with that controller to get the best deal. Other models with this Phison controller include the Kingston SM2280S3, the Corsair Force LS, and the MyDigitalSSD BP3, all of which are more expensive as of this writing, making the Silicon Power S55 the best deal.


PERFORMANCE WITH SMALL TRANSFERS:
This drive reads random small pieces of data (4KB) at 29MB/sec. This may sound slow, but it is faster than most, including the more expensive Samsung 845 EVO (by about 2MB/sec), and it is about 40 times faster than an average hard drive, which often can't even handle a single megabyte per second.
It writes 4K random data about twice as fast as it reads (71MB/sec)

PERFORMANCE WITH LARGE TRANSFERS:
Almost all SSDs today get around 500MB/sec for large transfers. This is because the SATA port is the mitigating factor, not the SSD. The same goes for this SSD. Nothing to see here.

REAL WORLD PERFORMANCE:
It is difficult to *properly* benchmark real-world performance myself without special software, so I'll summarize results from the most technically competent hardware review website: Anandtech.com. Note they benchmark an SSD with the same controller and firmware, but it isn't the exact same SSD and the size is smaller, so these numbers are just a good ballpark figure. Google "anandtech MyDigitalSSD bp3" for details:

Light workload (most users): 242 MB/sec: 66% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 5x the performance of the slowest.
Heavy workload (Photoshop, gaming, installing, etc.): 166MB/sec: 60% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 4.4x the performance of the slowest.

Overall the Silicon Power S55's performance is average, not extremely far from the top performers and far above the low performers. This is good news since the drive is so affordable.

Cons: Silicon Power has been criticized for changing the controller on some models of their SSD (not this one). For example, the S60 SSD can have either a Sandforce or Phison controller. Having multiple suppliers helps ensure that no supplier can suddenly jack up the price, and it is not evil as long as the company doesn't promise a specific controller. Still, Silicon Image should have made it very clear that the performance of some of their drives can differ -- there aren't many bigger changes that you can make to an SSD design than changing the controller it uses!

Other Thoughts: First: If you are building a PC, you should use an SSD and not a hard drive. Hard drives are useful only when you need to store terabytes of data cheaply (and slowly).

Many benchmarks show the read speed of hard drives vs SSDs only for large file transfers (over 256KB). SSDs outperform hard drives by several times, but this does not reveal how important an SSD is to the system.
SSDs can make your PC tens of times faster. How? Most real-world file access involves many reads/writes of very small amounts of data (under 8KB).
For these, the Silicon Power S55 is *more than 100 times faster* than a modern hard drive (specifically the Seagate 8TB Barracude Pro).

TLC/SLC flash definition:
TLC stands for "three level cell. Each flash memory cell stores three voltages instead of one (SLC) or two (MLC). This makes the cell slower because it has to read and write three values, and makes it wear faster because as it ages, it becomes more difficult to distinguish so many voltage levels, but it *triples* the SSD's capacity vs. SLC (or increases it 50% vs MLC). This means the SSD is more affordable and still fast enough for most users. I wouldn't suggest most TLC SSDs for servers, but for home computers they are just fine.

Power users know that a high-end SSD like an Intel 750 is faster and will last longer, but this is an SSD for your friend's computer, your dad's computer, or your computer when you don't have unlimited cash.

My credentials: I helped edit articles for StorageReview.com for years and was their first moderator. I have a degree in computer science and work as a senior engineer for a multi-billion dollar semiconductor manufacturer. My company does not make any SSD-related products and I have no investment in any PC hardware manufacturer.
I use an Intel 730 480GB SSD in my personal desktop computer.

READ FULL REVIEW

Charles B.'s Profile

Display Name: Charles B.

Date Joined: 01/02/03

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